I was thinking today... I have a lot of capital tied up with my camera gear.
I am interested in the new H4D-31 and was considering selling
my current gear to upgrade. Looking through the promotions page,
I noticed an attractive lease rate of $399/mo.
So if I sold my existing setup, I would have more than $12K
in the bank for my business. I would have a new camera with
warranty too... unlike my current gear.
I think it depends on the nature of the lease, your own personal cash flow situation and your future plans for upgrades.
Lease plans are wonderful for business when large purchases are involved as they help spread the payments across 'X' term greatly helping with cashflow. Of course, you pay an interest component for the privilege. If this is the reason you are considering a lease then in my opinion its the right move. Provided your income can meet the lease commitment.
Most leases of camera gear are really Hire/Purchase arrangements whereby you pay 'X' $ per month and at the end of the lease period you own the equipment. You may have to make a balloon payment depending on how you set up the lease. This is all good and well; but it may leave you owning gear 5 years old or so that you now want to upgrade and is now worth more than considerably less than you payed for it over the period of the lease. This may not bother you if you intend to keep the gear - on the other hand if you intend to upgrade it may leave a rather bitter taste in your mouth.
The other type of lease is where you hand back the equipment at the end of the lease period. In the photographic world these types of leases are much more rare since the lease company rarely wants a 5 year old depreciated asset on their books (they want it to be your problem - not theirs).
Depending on the equipment you may be purchasing it may be worth looking into upgrade options at the end of the lease such as those offered by Phase. These can greatly offset the depreciation of the asset. In other words, if you can upgrade to the new model at the end of the lease period by paying a 'difference' figure you will be a lot better off.
There is a lot to consider in leasing equipment. I recently went through this when purchasing a high end printer. In the end I opted to pay in full outright on my amex because I wanted the frequent flyer points. If you have a high credit limit and a good points scheme this can be a very good option as you can make payments back to your CC company monthly to help with cashflow, you get the points and usually the interest rates are not to dissimilar to a lease.
Whichever way you go, look at all the options, all the clauses and consider your upgrade path carefully. Last thing you want is to be locked into a lease on an asset you want to sell off for the newer model but cant get out of.
good luck with the purchase.